Harry Wass

Vielle {Medieval fiddle}

 Pelverata, Tasmania, Australia.  medieval.instruments@gmail.com 


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C.1400 Vielle:  4 playing stings (GDgd) , 1 drone string (D), and 2 sympathetic strings (dd) that vibrate in harmony with the playing strings. Tasmanian timbers used in construction are Myrtle (Nothofagus cunninghamii) for the back & sides, and King Billy pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) for the belly.

The Vielle was an early ancestor of the violin family, and its beautiful sound made it one of the most favoured instruments of medieval musicians.  It is thought that bowed instruments were brought to Europe via Islamic Spain and Byzantium first appearing in Euorpean carvings and manuscripts in around the 10th C.  Unlike the modern violin, the size and shape of Vielles were variable.  Vielles could also be fretted or unfretted, and can be played in the violin or cello postition.  A common method of bowing was to sound several strings at once.

Vielles by Harry Wass from $2500

 Vielle and other early bows made from $250

 Veilles designed and built by Harry Wass in 2007 and 2004 

Neck detail, Vielle 2007